The 10 Amino Acids Your Dog Needs
Category_Dog Blog

The 10 Amino Acids Your Dog Needs

by Wes Chang

This is our series on the ingredients in Wild Earth’s Clean Protein dog food called ‘Ingredients With A Purpose’. We understand there are A LOT of options when it comes to what you feed your dog. We also understand you want to feed them the best food possible and labels can be confusing. The goal of this series is to give you insight into the role each ingredient plays in our food and the components that make a complete dog diet. We’ve broken the articles down into the components that make a healthy dog diet: Protein, Fats & Carbohydrates, Fibers, Vitamins & Minerals, Essential Fatty Acids, Superfoods, Amino Acids, Prebiotics & Probiotics.

Amino Acids

When picking out dog food, pet parents tend to focus on protein, and with good reason! Protein plays many vital roles in the body including:

  • the growth and maintenance of muscle, hair, and nails
  • transporting nutrients around the body
  • immune system function
  • the production of hormones

By looking at a pet food’s guaranteed analysis, you can get a pretty good idea of how much protein the food contains. The current Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards state that a food designed of adult maintenance should contain at least 18% protein on a dry matter basis while the minimum for growth and reproduction or all life stages is 22.5%. The term “dry matter basis” refers to a calculation that takes into account how much water is present in the food.

What the guaranteed analysis can’t tell you, however, is whether or not the protein that is present supplies all the amino acids that your dog needs. Many commercial dog foods may contain a larger percentage of protein content, but you never know if they actually contain the amino acids that your dog needs.

But why be concerned about amino acids? Isn’t the total amount of protein in the diet all that is important? No, it isn’t. Let’s look at the reason why.

What Are Amino Acids?

Amino acids are known to be organic compounds found in all living things from humans to dogs. Amino acids are known to be the building blocks of proteins and are used to make proteins that the body can use but also play an important role in other systems such as regulating hormones as well as neurotransmitters.

Dogs don’t directly use the proteins that they eat. In other words, a dog may eat muscle meat, but those proteins don’t get absorbed and used in the dog’s muscles. What actually happens is far more elegant, and complex.

In a basic sense, protein molecules are chains made up of 20 common amino acids. Think of proteins as amino acid “beads” on a string. The strings come in varying lengths, and the beads can be laid down in almost any order. Then, the strings are folded in truly amazing ways that determine how the resulting protein interacts in the body.

But when dogs eat protein, the digestive system undoes all these folds and links. The body disassembles dietary proteins back down into their amino acid building blocks. Then, it reassembles them into the proteins that are needed in the moment. Cool, eh?

Half of the 20 common amino acids are not of much nutritional concern. Dogs can make them on their own as long as their diets contain enough nitrogen (nitrogen is a major component of all amino acids). The other 10 amino acids are crucial, however, because the canine body cannot manufacture them—they must be supplied by food. If the diet is deficient in any of these essential amino acids, dogs will not be able to make all of the different types of protein that their bodies need.

Try Wild Earth Dog Food!

The Essential Amino Acids For Dogs Are:

  • Arginine
  • Histidine
  • Isoleucine
  • Leucine
  • Lysine
  • Methionine
  • Phenylalanine
  • Threonine
  • Tryptophan
  • Valine

You won’t find mention of essential amino acids on most dog food labels. So, how can you know that a particular diet provides them all?

AAFCO standards provide guidance as to the levels of all ten essential amino acids that a dog food must contain to keep dogs healthy. Make sure that you can find an AAFCO nutritional adequacy statement on the label of any food you offer your dog. Finally, look at the food’s ingredient list. High-quality protein sources, like Yeast, contain all 10 essential amino acids for dogs.

Nutrition Is Key

The number 1 thing we can do for our dogs is giving them food that enables their body and mind to flourish.

Much like us, the healthier your dog’s lifestyle, the more likely they’ll be able to fight off any disease or infection. Often the food we feed our dogs is not doing them justice. It’s filled with artificial flavors, low-quality protein sources, and not enough fiber.

Wild Earth is a Vet-developed food that is a high protein, high fiber source of complete nutrition. Our food is full of beta-glucans, a powerful digestive fiber that helps to fight off disease and increase immunity. It also contains superfoods like chickpeas, sweet potato, oats, and blueberries so your dog can thrive!

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